Hump Day! It was day three on the construction site and I could feel it. With it being right in the middle of the week, tired from previous work with a lot to go, it is easy to not be motivated. However, when little kids in the village come up and help you carry a shovel or wheelbarrow across the job site, you get some energy to go alongside them. The kids were very enthusiastic to jump in today and when they weren’t working, we threw around a ball or played climb the tree. I got to be the tree. Having all the children smile and joke with you really made me remember the importance of what we are doing. Thank you for all of your prayers.
From Mike K. on the Water Team:
|Team Hauled a LOT of Block and Concrete Today|
|Cassie and Chuck's First Day on the Construction Team|
|Laresa Is Amazing with the Kids|
|Ben Found Other Uses for His Headband on the Way to the Job Site|
From Mike K. on the Water Team:
After what might seem like a slow start, the water team has settled into an accelerating and productive pace with installations. Seventy-five Sawyer, PointOne Filters were checked as luggage for our trip here. The locally sourced plastic buckets unfortunately were not delivered until Monday afternoon. Nevertheless, the team with the help of the local mission staff was able to visit Batey Brador Monday and present the filter story to some of the residents at the local church. We also visited the batey school and asked the teacher about the possibility of installing a system at the school. During that visit, we learned that the school had an urgent need for very basic school supplies.
When we returned Tuesday morning, a resident handed us a list of 31 names interested in obtaining a filter. We organized as two teams which included an interpreter, presenter, “chaplain” and, most importantly, two team members to entertain the throngs of children that were our constant companion. Once we obtained permission to enter their home, the chaplain would first develop a spirit of trust with them that was followed with a time of prayer. A filter demonstration would follow that concluded with the resident sampling the filtered water. As word spread throughout the batey, it quickly became obvious to the team that the list was growing. At the end of the day, 18 systems were installed including two at the school. Also, a suitcase full of school supplies (composition books, pencils, crayons, etc.) was delivered to a very appreciative teacher.
Wednesday started out with some disappointment when we learned that many of the residents were away from the batey for a day of shopping in town. Any disappointment present quickly disappeared once we organized with three teams and began to move throughout the batey. By lunch, we had installed 18 more systems. One particular encouraging story was a young field worker who rushed to the church on his meal break and requested a filter to be installed. We quickly followed him to his house, prayed with him, and installed the filter.
After lunch, we journeyed to Batey 203. Our local staff friends told us we would meet there with the local health promotions officer. Our objective their can best be described as a sales call. We also believed that Thursday would be a day of community education before installations could begin. Evidently, our expectations did not match up with God’s. The officer there did not need to be sold on the filters and, moreover, she already had a list of 31 residents for water filters! Tomorrow, we hope to hit the ground running with three teams and install 31 filters before 2 PM.
I am unable to express adequately my sincere thanks for your prayer and monetary support for this trip. It has been for me personally an incredible three days mixed with mostly spiritual highs. The low points that do occur arise from the personal stories we hear from the residents we visit. The availability of clean water will most certainly bring a significant level of improvement to their lives. There is such more that is needed that it all can become overwhelming. We all keep reminding ourselves of the story of the little boy on the beach saving the starfishes.
Medical Clinic and VBS – Teresa
We went to our third batey for the week, St. Lucia, and set up the clinic in a church there. It was a larger church, which was great, and we also had several extra helpers from the other group that is working here this week from Maine. They were able to run a couple of the stations as well as divide pills for prescriptions, which puts us ahead for the week!
The Maine group also helped with the children and we were able to use classrooms today. On Monday, we were outside under the shade (for the most part) of a building and one big tree. On Tuesday, we were outside with a covered pavilion and tiled floor. Today, we had tables and chairs and I have never appreciated them more. In the morning, we shared the story of Jesus and the Children and this afternoon it was Jonah. We also made a craft with each group, complete with glue, paint, and seashells. The best part was when the children sang the song “Dios es Bueno” or “God is Good”.
Tonight we heard from Jonathan, who is working on this theology degree and works here with the Maranatha Mission. He heads up many of their education ministries and shared about their program for adult education in the bateys called Backyard Schools. Through this ministry, they hire educated people from the batey communities for $400.00 a month to teach adults to read and write. It is a 4 month program and they have a goal of 200 students each term, but have graduated 295 this past term. The program is obviously meeting a great need in the bateys.
We also heard from twelve different students, ages 18 to middle age, who are trying to pursue college degrees, but who struggle to pay for tuition. A college education here ranges from $2,000.00 a year for a tech degree to $6,000.00 for a medical degree. Jonathan himself is from a batey and was only able to attend college because someone believed in him enough to sponsor his education. He is so grateful for that sponsorship and is now helping others to find resources to finish college so that they will be able to return and help more people in the bateys. It’s a wonderful story of paying it forward in these communities.
Pastor Mike has been preaching on the psalms during Lent, I have been reading them during Lent and every day on the mission trip someone has read a passage from Psalms. So today the church where we had clinic today had a verse painted on the wall and, you guessed it – it was from the psalms. I don’t remember all the Spanish, but could translate it: “Worship God because “Dios es bueno” - God is good. God is indeed good and we have been experiencing that each day this week. May you experience that with us as we share our trip with you!